To Landycake or not to Landycake. . .

I’ve lately been wondering if I’m in a select minority of folks who are just not that interested in the upcoming World Cup.  It might of course be a hangover effect from watching a dreadful Manchester United play for the previous 10 months, but I suspect it’s deeper than that.

Some time in the last four years – the Euro 2012 to be exact – I came to the conclusion that international football is dull when compared to following club football.  I enjoy the pacing of matches throughout a season as opposed to watching 2 to 3 matches a day during a period of one month.  The quality of play is usually not as good.  And the relative lack of parity throughout the groups is constantly irritating (how do you get a group consisting of Spain, Holland, Chile & Australia and then have one composed of Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast & Japan?).  Or maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m just growing weary from watching a bunch of men-children kick a ball around a field.

But for us US fans, the only question at the moment is whether Jürgen Klinsmann made the right decision in excluding Landon Donovan from the 23-man roster.  My own view on the matter is that when Donovan went walkabout a year and a half ago he should never have been called back in to the national team which would have spared us all from the current outcry.  I wrote something similar last year prior to the Gold Cup.

This isn’t to say I don’t feel bad for Donovan, because it does seem a little cruel for Klinsmann to have brought him into camp only to ultimately tell him he’s not good enough in a pretty public manner.

But in terms of performances this summer, I don’t really think it would have mattered if Donovan were included in the squad or not:  the US is likely exiting after the group stages anyway.  To be brutally honest of our team’s chances, picking up a solitary point from the group stage would have to be seen as a success.  Anything more will be seen as an over achievement while anything less will be a realistic portrayal of the team’s abilities.


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